Orange You Glad for El Dorado Hops? Maine Beer Co.’s A Tiny Beautiful Something

On the docket:  Maine Beer Co.’s A Tiny Beautiful Something

poured into:  Innis & Gunn stemmed craft glass

S:  A honey-gold body fills out underneath a thick creamy ecru head.  The cap sits as a quarter-inched layer of tiny, dense bubbles.  This one is a bit cloudy, almost giving the impression of an often-consumed breakfast drink.  Microscopic bubbles awake and make their way to the top of the glass from its base.

A:  Am aroma redolent with orange greets the nostrils, eventually ceding to a clean, crisp malt background.  There’s a very subtle, almost miss-able floral note, too.

T:  A small zap of sweetness followed by an immense orange-citrus flavor rolls over the palate.  You’d almost think MBC (as opposed to BMC!) poured orange juice into the beer.  But surely, this is not the case.  The El Dorado hops are here in force.  From the malt we get a clean, cracker and slightly cereal-like combination; it plays well with the orangey hops.

F:  Smooth, due to the addition of flaked oats, but with plenty of carbonation and a slight oily feel.  Medium-light body and medium finish.  This one sticks around for a while, with a moderate bitterness and plenty of juicy orange hops on the finish.  The end is more zest than flesh, but that’s fine by me.

O:  Delicious, drinkable, refreshing.  Great introduction to fruity American Pale Ales.  Ideal for drinking with brunch or a sunny spring day.  Beautiful.

Suggested food pairing:  Spring-mix salad with orange vinaigrette dressing, creamy cheddar cheese, Eggs over easy with a dash of salt and pepper with a side of bacon, lightly-treated white fish, fruit tart

 

Go “down cellar” and bring this up: Allagash Tripel Ale

On the docket:  750ml cork & cage Allagash Tripel Ale, bottle date:  8/6/15.

Poured into:  Chimay etched chalice

S:  A quickly rising, stark-white whip of head formed on the surface of a nearly Ticonderoga #2 pencil-colored body.  The head will settle down, clinging to the top in a ¾ thumb-width.  Tiny bubbles zip to the surface.  There is a visible cloudiness in the body, but this treat was bottle conditioned, so that’s just fine by me.

A:  Light, malty sweetness works in partnership with a dry, spicy note of clove.  Gentle banana and bubblegum (and I mean really gentle) yeast esters also emanate from the head.  A mild fruitiness (Allagash says passionfruit).  Spicy, earthy hops probably feel overlooked, but I waved at them, made them feel appreciated.

T:  Dry clove spice and an earthy, husky/straw flavor meet your senses immediately.  One will also detect some sweetness from the malt and the candi sugar.  There’s certainly a little fruitiness in the mouth, too.  Peach?  Apricot?  Mango?  I’ll chalk that up to the yeast.  Honey wends its way into the flavor.  The hops and the higher alcohols show up in the finish.  It’s a slight warming tingle, but by no means unpleasant. Tripels are dangerous– light body, great flavor, and well-integrated alcohol.  This one comes in at 9% abv.  Take your time with this cork and cage beauty.

F:  Light, fluffy, tingly, and like they said on the bottle, a long finish.  A great sipper.

O:  An excellent interpretation of a cherished Belgian style by an American brewery.  High marks to Allagash.  If you think this one is good, try their barrel-aged releases.

Suggested food pairing:  Rich creamy Blue cheese, Italian or clove seasoned pork-loin, fruit tart or maybe even a slice of apple pie a la mode

S:  4.25  A:  4.5  T:  4.75  F:  4.5  O:  4.5